Museum being spruced for visit of Cotton’s great-grandson

Engineering marvel: The 1830-make plough machine that was imported by Sir Arthur Cotton on display at Cotton Museum in Dowleswaram. —   | Photo Credit: Photo: S. Rambabu

B.V.S. Bhaskar

It houses machinery tools used during construction of Dowleswaram Barrage

Museum has on display 1830-make plough machine

The dignitaries to also unveil Arthur Cotton statue at Cotton Peta

Dowleswaram: The Sir Arthur Cotton Museum near Dowleswaram Barrage is getting ready to welcome the legend’s great-grandson Robert Charles Cotton and his wife Nicolette Anne Cotton, who will be visiting the oldest museum on Sunday.

Executive Engineer of Godavari Head Works Division V. Venugopala Rao, who is supervising the arrangements at the museum, said that this would be the second visit of Mr. Robert Charles Cotton to Rajahmundry (Dowleswaram). His first visit was on November 5, 1987.

The museum is being given a fresh coat of paint. Some 100 images and over 15 machinery tools used during the construction of the barrage from 1847 to 1852 are being cleaned.

The Head Works Department has kept the old tools intact, including the 1830- make plough machine (locally called shutters lifting machine) of Rapier Company, U.K., which was imported by Sir Arthur Cotton during the construction of the barrage.

According to Mr. Vengopala Rao, the machine was used to lift the anicut shutters (flaps) one by one to release water into the sea after the floodwaters recede to a certain level. The ‘lushkars’ (workers) used caulking material between the flaps to arrest the leakage of water.

The youth in Dowleswaram are also making grand arrangements to welcome the Cottons at Cotton Peta. They have erected a huge statue of Sir Arthur Cotton, which will be unveiled by Mr. Robert Charles Cotton.

Laudable contributions

Recalling the contribution of Sir Arthur Cotton, historian Y.S. Narasimha Rao said that the irrigation engineer argued on behalf of Godavari delta farmers for construction of an anicut and he was even prepared to lay down his office at one point of time as ‘Captain’ in the British Government.

Quoting John Henry Morris, who wrote about the Godavari, he said that Sir Arthur Cotton was hated by his administrative superiors, thanks to his loving attitude towards the people of India. At one point of time, impeachment proceedings were initiated for his dismissal, he added. Sir Arthur Cotton had to appear before a House of Commons Committee to justify his proposal to build an anicut across the Godavari. A further hearing in the House of Commons followed by his letter to the then Secretary of State for India showed his keenness to built the anicut.

His final sentence in that letter reads like this: “My Lord, one day’s flow in the Godavari river during high floods is equal to one whole year’s flow in the Thames River.”